Black White Red is a beautiful and unique book, holding within its pages many stories. The magnificent pictures of Central Australia are painted with poetry, which reflects The Dreaming, European Settlement, The Stolen Generation, and Reunion and Reflection. Within these stories are David Bailes’ ancestors who first came to Australia, worked hard, lived hard and assimilated with the local people.
The author knows the importance of accurate research and began to trace his family tree. He discovered The Aboriginal connections in his family and was keen to learn about the past. He located his relatives easily and was welcomed. Hearing his family history firsthand and from an Aboriginal perspective was an enlightening experience for him. Sitting around the campfire with people who shared his past, David was embraced by the stories that encapsulated his family, and also stories of the Central Australian Land.
He learned about some Dreaming Stories, the Flora and Fauna, the joys, and the heartbreak that people suffered. For the Aboriginal People, the constant threat of having their children taken away was ever present, while life in the desert for the White settlers was a hard adjustment.
In his poem “Western Desert Dreaming,” David says,
“Katanya, the morning star, drips silver on the pale yellow horizon
Kungkarangkalpa, the Seven Sisters flee with the receding
Katjarungkani, the dawn, is breaking across the Western Desert.
Pira kantily, the crescent moon, fades into the blueness of day.”
Drawing us in to the landscape, the lives of the people and the heart of the land, this is a beautiful and enlightening work.